I cannot recall the last time I was so packed full of anticipation as I learnt that there was a playable demo available on PSN for the upcoming Silent Hills. I leapt even higher to learn that Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro would be the joint mastermind behind our next Silent Hill(s) plot. Some have doubted such a duo but me, I believe it to be one the of the greatest gaming production duos to date. On the one hand we have the remarkably creative genius behind the Metal Gear Solid and Castlevania series and on the other, a director that boasts the likes of Blade II, Hellboy and Pans Labyrinth to his lengthy list of visuals. Whichever way you chose view this partnership there is no denying that the playable teaser for Silent Hills delivered a very strong start. In relation to this partnership Kojima was quoted as saying "we originally wanted you to pee your pants. Now we want you to shit your pants". So the goal is clear from the get go!
I smiled as Kojma's gimick titled "7780s Studios" greeted me at some of the first screens. Obviously I knew that this studio did not exist so I asked, What did it stand for? A little bit of research led me to find that '7780s' is a code for Silent Hills. Kojima cleverly used '7780' as this is a postal/zip code for a location within the Shizuoka region of Japan. In English the location translates to 'Quiet Hills'. 'Silent', another name for quiet and we have 'Silent Hills'.
Upon my first patrol through the corridors of mysterious house, I began to think that I was missing something. I couldn't interact with any objects, although there seemed to be plenty in my path. I didn't know who I was, why I was there and what my goal was. I conceivably guessed that my objective was to escape from the house. But I was playing a Silent Hills demo and the path was not that straight forward. NO, I found the game play to be packed full of puzzles that were not obvious AT ALL! The game play looped with each loop containing subtle changes of which I started to pay great attention to by the third loop. Aside from frustration, I felt full of wonderment; I wanted to know what had happened, who I was and why this 'fun house' contained broken clues to the story. This really was becoming one of the most THRILLING gaming teases I had played.
At all times, I felt on my guard, just waiting for a scare. I have played all of the Silent Hill games on past consoles and I am used to patrolling through dark environments and having the crap scared out of me. I was not let down by the NEW Silent Hills or P.T experience. There's a scene in the demo with a fridge that is suspended in the foyer. What happens, or rather doesn't, felt disturbing to me. I won't spoil it by fully divulging the details but I felt as though I needed to progress AS I WANTED THE NOISES TO STOP! Unfortunately there was a tricky puzzle around this part so I had to suffer the noises for quite some time. Typical right?!
In order to progress through the loops there were puzzles to solve. Naturally, clues were sparse but due to the nature of the environment, closed, repetitive, small; it wasn't long before I started to decipher the puzzles within this tease. Here is a SPOILER so DO NOT read the rest of this paragraph if you do not want to know. There are six pieces of a portrait that need to be collected in order to progress. Admittedly, I struggled to find all six pieces but if you use the 'zoom' function in certain area you will see the pieces. Here is the location of the most cleverly hidden piece: Located within the 'pause' menu. Pause the game and ZOOM in to the brain on the right. A piece of the picture will appear. The final portrait is located to the upper right of the digital clock and will automatically piece together as you find them.
I think that we have come a long way since with first Silent Hill demo but I feel that the series has always remained true to its roots: eerie, mature, gory and twisted. I could go on. I now find it incredibly IRONIC that the first EVER demo for Silent Hill was bundled in to Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation 1. BRILLIANT!!
Overall, the Silent Hills demo is a fantastic tease that made me ask many questions. I am eager to play more and hopefully gain some answer to those questions. Playstation 4 owners can download the P.T demo from PSN for free today. GOOD LUCK ON THE LAST PUZZLE. That's all I shall say on that matter!
Gemma ~ Juicy Game Reviews
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